News

Andrea Horwath welcomes Peggy Nash to Ontario NDP team

Today, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath announced that former Parkdale High Park Federal MP, Peggy Nash will be joining the Ontario NDP team at Queen’s Park in the role of Senior Policy Advisor, Stakeholder Relations.

“From the House of Commons to Toronto’s High Park, from her time in politics to her time as a leader in the labour movement, Peggy has been a tireless fighter for a vision of a progressive Canada that we all share, a place where no one is left behind,” said Horwath.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have Peggy join us here at Queen’s Park; her years of experience, her wisdom, tenacity and strength will be a tremendous asset to our already strong team.”

“The Ontario NDP is leading the way on so many issues I care deeply about; the fight for high-quality health care, good jobs you can raise a family on and on stopping the short-sighted selloff of Hydro One. I’m glad to be a part of this team as they build towards electing an NDP government in 2018,” said Nash.

“I can’t wait to get to work at with Andrea at Queen’s Park and in communities across this province,” said Nash.

Peggy Nash was first elected to represent Parkdale-High Park in Parliament in 2006 and served as Finance and Industry Critic. She was a Canadian election observer in South Africa and in Ukraine.

She is a founding member of Equal Voice, a multi-partisan organization that advocates for the election of more women in Canada and also served on the board of Invest Toronto and has long championed affordable housing, urban transit and environmental issues alongside economic development.

NDP MPP Sarah Campbell secures clear timeline for Highway 17 twinning

After years of the Liberal government’s failure to move forward with the long-promised twinning of Highway 17 from the Manitoba border to Kenora, Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell’s motion, that sets clear goals and timelines for this project, passed with unanimous support of the Ontario legislature today.

The motion calls for the expansion and four-lane widening of Highway 17, from the Manitoba border to the City of Kenora by 2020, with the Minister of Transportation to provide updates every 6 months.

“Today we have taken an important step towards the long-standing promise of expanding and twinning Highway 17,” Campbell said.

NDP amendments to Bill 172 -- Liberal Climate Change Plan

The NDP submitted over 80 pages of amendments to make Bill 172 more fair, effective and transparent. 

The Liberal government voted down most of them. They did agree to the following key changes in response to NDP amendments all of these were weakened versions of the actual NDP amendments:

  • Apply a “low-income lens” when administering the cap-and-trade system and developing the climate change action plan
  • Require a report about the report to the Treasury Board assessing the likely impact of proposed climate change initiative
  • Improve transparency concerning the distribution of free allowances
  • Require the Minister to update the Legislature on the status of its climate change action plan every year, instead of every five years

NOTE: while Bill 172 requires the creation of a climate change action plan, it does not specify details such as those that have been recently disclosed by the Globe and Mail.

Statement by Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on Electoral Finance Reform

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath issued the following statement regarding electoral finance reform:

"We've been clear that it's time to get the influence of big money out of government and politics in Ontario.

However, we are disappointed that the Liberals have chosen to make something as important as changing the rules of our democracy a partisan issue rather than allowing it to move forward with a fast-moving, non-partisan panel led by an independent party like the Chief Electoral Officer with substantive input from the public, academia, labour, business and all major political parties.  

Liberals balancing the budget on the backs of children with autism: NDP

During Question Period today, Monique Taylor, the Ontario NDP’s Children and Youth Services critic, demanded the Liberal government listen to its own expert advisors, and stop trying to save money on the backs of children with autism.

“You can’t claim to be making decisions based on science if you’re ignoring the experts behind the science.   This is about vulnerable children that deserve access to promised life-changing therapy.  It’s time to put them first,” Taylor said.   “This Liberal government needs to stop thinking they know more than clinicians, and listen to experts who are sounding the alarm.”

Liberal cuts won’t fix hospital overcrowding: NDP

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has released new information showing evidence of overcrowding in many Ontario hospitals. Documents obtained by New Democrats through Freedom of Information show acute care beds in hard-hit regional hospitals as well as large urban hospitals are over 100 percent capacity in hospitals across the province – and reveal that the Liberal government has no standards or best-practices for managing hospital occupancy. 

“When Ontarians need health care, it should be there for them. But today, at the same time as many Ontario hospitals are filled to capacity, the Liberals keep cutting hospital services, laying off health care workers, and closing beds,” said Horwath. “It’s clear that health care is the silent crisis of the Wynne government. The Liberals refuse to even admit that hospital overcrowding is a problem in Ontario.”

Wynne Liberals shouldn’t force Torontonians to pay for its Presto transit mistakes: NDP

During Question Period today, NDP transportation critic, Wayne Gates, demanded the Liberal government assure Torontonians that it won’t force them to pay for its transit mistakes, following reports that Metrolinx has asked Ottawa’s OC Transpo to pay 10 per cent of its fare revenue for the use of Presto, five times more than what it currently pays. 

“Negotiations with Metrolinx are always one-sided. Metrolinx and the government can force transit agencies to take whatever deal they want,” Gates said.  “Metrolinx currently charges the TTC five per cent of fare revenue for Presto.  When that agreement runs out, will Metrolinx also demand 10 per cent of the TTC’s fare revenue?” 

Gates said that in 2010, Premier Wynne, who was then the Minister of Transportation, told the TTC to stop shopping around for a better smart card, and stick with Presto. 

“She said the TTC had better take Presto, or else she would cancel funding for Transit City.  She eventually killed Transit City anyway, but only after the TTC had bent to her will and agreed to take Presto,” Gates said.  “This was in spite of problems, cost over-runs and a warning by the Auditor General who said, ‘By the time it is fully developed, Presto will be among the more expensive fare-card systems in the world.’”

Liberal government continues to ignore plight of thousands of vulnerable airport workers

NDP Deputy Leader Jagmeet Singh called on the Liberal government to address the plight of thousands of vulnerable workers in precarious jobs at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

“Airport workers screen passengers for safety, they handle our bags and they refuel our planes. Their work brings in billions of dollars in revenue into the GTA every year, yet employees struggle to make ends meet,” said Singh, MPP for Bramlea-Gore-Malton. 

Toronto Pearson International Airport is the largest transportation hub in Canada and one of the Canada’s largest workplaces with over 4,000 employees, who handle more than 41 million passengers.

While the federal government has responsibility for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, federal labour code only applies to direct employees of the authority – a relatively small group.

“While most believe that employees all work directly for the airport, they actually don’t. In fact, it’s a complicated system of contractors and subcontractors that run the airport. This means that for thousands of employees there is no job security, no sick days, no guarantees in scheduling and, what’s worse, a wage that’s very difficult to live on,” said Singh. 

Premier chooses Liberal Party over public trust in Ontario’s energy sector

Today, the Liberal government voted against an NDP opposition day motion calling for the establishment of a Public Inquiry on the awarding and management of public contracts in the energy industry. Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath tabled the motion for a ‘Charbonneau Commission’-style inquiry in response to widespread concerns that the government is setting energy policy according to what benefits the Liberal Party of Ontario rather than what is best for the families, businesses and industries in the province.

“People deserve to know their government isn’t corrupt, but when they’re facing five police investigations, people start to worry,” said Horwath. “The government should be asking how they can ensure Ontarians have affordable, clean, reliable electricity. Instead they’re asking what the energy system can do for the Ontario Liberal Party.”

Citing the $1.1 billion cancellation of the gas plants in Mississauga and Oakville, the cancelling offshore wind contracts, the sell-off of Hydro One and ‘cash for access’ fundraising, Horwath laid out a pattern of costly, politically-motivated decisions in the energy sector that have eroded the public’s trust in the Premier and her government.

“The Premier said that she would clean things up, but four years later nothing has changed,” said Horwath. “A public inquiry would have cleared the air. Instead she once again chose the Liberal Party over the families and businesses of Ontario.”

Even in the face of legal action, Liberal government remains oblivious to Hamilton stadium construction shortfalls: NDP

Ontario NDP Tourism, Culture and Sport critic, Paul Miller, demanded accountability from Premier Wynne for the fiasco around the construction of Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.

“Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton was turned over to the city unfinished and nearly a year late last May. The construction of this stadium under the watch of the government’s Infrastructure Ontario turned into, unfortunately, a fiasco,” said Miller, MPP for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek. “Completion and handover was rushed in order to ensure the stadium be used for the Pan Am Games.”

Now, another year has passed and the stadium is still not complete. 

Recently, both the City of Hamilton and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats filed notices of action in the superior court claiming tens of millions of dollars in damages. Both notices include Infrastructure Ontario, which is tasked by the Liberal government to arrange all privatization contracts. 

Wynne Liberals prioritize shareholders, while Ontarians are left paying the price: NDP

During Question Period today, Ontario NDP Energy Critic Peter Tabuns, said that Ontarians are facing higher hydro bills despite consuming less electricity because of the Wynne government’s mismanagement of the energy sector that prioritizes shareholder profits over Ontario families.

“Instead of fixing Hydro One—so that it delivers affordable, secure, and green power for all Ontarians—this government has prioritized making money for shareholders, while at the same time, driving up rates for customers,” Tabuns said.  “My question is simple: when will this government start putting the interests of Ontarians first? 

Last Friday, it was announced that Hydro One shareholders will be paid more than $36 million in dividends. Meanwhile Ontarians saw their hydro bills increase again on May 1, despite using less electricity.  This is the eighth time in a row that rates have gone up by more than 9 per cent over the previous year.

Horwath Calls for Moratorium on Wynne Government’s Cuts to Nurses

To mark the beginning of Nursing Week, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath called on the Wynne government to impose a moratorium on any further nursing cuts in Ontario’s hospitals.

“This morning, on the first day of Nursing Week, I’m here with one message for Premier Wynne: Enough is enough,” said Horwath. “The Liberals are forcing our hospitals to make decisions based on dollars and deficits, rather than what’s best for patients. The Premier’s deep cuts to nursing care in Ontario’s hospitals must stop – Now.”

Horwath was joined by Vicki McKenna, First Vice-President of the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA), who revealed that 1,440 registered nurses have been cut since the beginning of 2015. In 2016, Ontario is on pace to more than double the number of nurses cut compared to last year.

“Nurses know that hospital RN cuts hurt our patients,” said McKenna. “Registered nurses appreciate Andrea Horwath’s call for a moratorium on nursing cuts. Our acutely ill patients need more RN care, not less.”

NDP fights for children with autism

Today Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, and NDP Critic for Children and Youth Services, Monique Taylor, spoke to hundreds of families who came to Queen’s Park to rally against cuts to autism therapy in Ontario. Parents and children fighting for therapy were joined by Ontario school boards, educators, and labour.

“The Liberals are cutting thousands of children off the waitlist for autism services. Autism doesn’t end at 5, but under the Liberal plan, IBI therapy will,” said Horwath. “Parents, educators, school boards, workers, the Provincial Advocate, and autism experts all say the same thing: children with autism need and deserve access to these therapies. The Premier admitted she was wrong to nearly double drug costs for seniors. She admitted she was wrong to close provincial and demonstration schools. It’s time to admit cutting children off from these therapies is wrong, and ensure these children get the therapies they need.”

Hundreds of parents have visited Queen’s Park to hold rallies and participate in press conferences to fight for the IBI autism therapy their children need. Last month, Kristen Ellison came to Queen's Park and shared her story about what a loss of therapy will mean for her child. She said, "Realizing I may never hear, 'Mom, I love you' is enough to kill a mother inside.” 

“These parents are passionate about their children. But they are being blocked by Liberal MPPs on Twitter for simply requesting a meeting,” continued Monique Taylor, NDP Critic for Children and Youth Services. “IBI is essential therapy for children with autism. But the Liberals are trying to balance the books on the backs of these children. These children have been doubly penalized, having had to wait their entire lives on lists, only to be removed and never receive access. Ontarians deserve so much better.”

Horwath and Taylor committed the party to continue fighting for autism therapy.

Ontario NDP commemorates Tamil Genocide Remembrance Month

In honour of Tamil Genocide Remembrance Month , Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announced that she will be hosting a commemorative event at Queen’s Park next week, while Deputy Leader Jagmeet Singh also delivered a statement to commemorate Tamil Genocide Remembrance Month in the Ontario Legislature. 

“The Ontario NDP stands together with Tamil Canadians in remembering the thousands of loved ones, families and friends that were killed during the genocide in Sri Lanka.  New Democrats stand in solidarity with the Tamil community in their struggle for justice for the innocent children, women and men who were victims of the Tamil genocide.  We support the Tamil community on their path towards healing and reconciliation,” Horwath said.

“I invite all members of the Tamil community to join me, and the Ontario NDP caucus, at Queen’s Park to commemorate Tamil Genocide Remembrance Month. You can RSVP by emailing outreach@ndp.on.ca.” 

Today, NDP Deputy Leader, Jagmeet Singh (MPP for Bramalea-Gore-Malton), also delivered the following statement in the Ontario Legislature:

“May is Tamil genocide remembrance month, and while it’s absolutely important to remember the tragedies, including the human rights violations, the war crimes and, in fact, the genocide that the Tamil community has endured, it’s also important to note that these adversities are ongoing and the Tamil community continues to face oppression at the hands of the Sri Lankan government.

Despite these adversities, the Tamil community has shown such tremendous resilience. In fact, they continue to thrive in the diaspora. In addition, they’ve shown inspirational commitment to celebrating their arts, music, culture and, in fact, their language. It’s something that inspires us all.

On a personal note, as a Sikh, our community has also endured genocide and it’s for that reason I also stand in solidarity with the Tamil community.

In addition, Andrea Horwath and all New Democrats stand in solidarity with the Tamil community in remembering the past injustices and the ongoing oppression. In fact, we also stand in solidarity with the ongoing struggle for a permanent solution based on peace, freedom and justice for the Tamil people in their nation of Tamil Eelam.

On May 9, at 3 p.m., the NDP will be hosting a memorial event to remember the genocide and all those who lost their lives. It’ll be held at 3 p.m. in the NDP caucus boardroom.”

Premier Wynne defends her ‘man-splaining’ Energy Minister’s casual sexism: NDP

Ontario NDP MPP Catherine Fife called on Premier Wynne to ask her minister to resign following his comments in the legislature yesterday comparing the leader of Ontario’s New Democrats to an animal.

“I thought the Liberal caucus had a code of contact. Surely it doesn’t say that comparing women to dogs is okay?” said Fife, MPP for Kitchener-Waterloo. “Premier, it’s never okay. It’s 2016. When is enough is enough?”

The call for the Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli’s resignation from cabinet follows his comment in the legislature yesterday that the Ontario NDP leader “pees all over the map.” 

The minister's sexist and un-parliamentary comment yesterday follows a pattern of degrading and disrespecting comments, including last year when he referred to the Leader of the Ontario NDP as “that woman.”

NDP’s Horwath commits to Health Care You Can Count On

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says it’s time for the Liberal government to stop cutting hospital care and ensure that Ontario families can count on their health care system to be there when they need it. Horwath says hospital funding should be stable, predictable and, at a minimum, must keep pace with inflation and population growth. 

 “The last thing people should have to worry about is their family’s health care. Ontarians deserve health care they can count on, and that’s what the NDP is determined to deliver,” said Horwath. “Instead of stability, people are watching as hundreds of nurses are fired, hospital beds are closed, and services are being cut across Ontario because this Liberal government is forcing hospitals to make decisions based on dollars and deficits, instead of what’s best for patients.”

 More than 1,200 nursing positions have been cut since the start of 2015 because hospital base funding was frozen by Kathleen Wynne for four straight years and budget 2016 contains a mere one percent increase. By refusing to ensure hospital funding keeps up with inflation and the cost of serving a growing population, the Liberals are forcing hospitals to cut patient care and layoff frontline health care workers. 

 “14 million Ontarians rely on the health care system to be there when they need it. Whether it is parents worried about a sick child, or our growing senior population who need more care to stay healthy, we all count on our hospitals and emergency rooms.  Health care is this government’s silent crisis,” continued Horwath. “Ontario can do so much better. We need to make sure that, at the very least; hospital funding keeps up with inflation and population growth. Ontarians deserve health care they can count on.”

 Horwath was joined by Natalie Mehra from the Ontario Health Coalition and Shirley Roebuck, Chair of the Sarnia-Lambton Health Coalition and a retired Registered Nurse.

 

NDP demands Premier stop Northern health care crisis and restore hospital funding

During Question Period today, NDP health critic, France Gélinas called on Premier Wynne to stop continued cuts to health care in Northern Ontario where hospitals are being forced to cut patient care, while families face a health care crisis. 

“Northern Ontario has been hit hard,” Gélinas said. “Frontline workers have been laid off and beds closed across the entire north.  In Sault Ste Marie, Timmins, North Bay, Atikokan, Temiskaming Shores. The list goes on.  At the North Bay hospital, more than 300 frontline workers have been cut over the past four years. But this government doesn’t seem to care about cuts to patient care.” 

“When will the Premier stop the cuts to health care in the North – and restore stable, predictable funding for Ontario’s hospitals?,” Gélinas asked 

 

Horwath: Time for a Public Inquiry into Liberal government energy contracts

Today, following media reports of yet another OPP investigation into the Liberal Government’s dealings in the energy sector, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath released the following statement:

“From the Gas Plants scandal, to the selloff of Hydro One, to Greenfield fundraising, to today’s new allegations about more deleted documents, the Liberal scandals in our energy sector seem never ending. It’s time for a Public Inquiry on the Awarding and Management of Public Contracts in the Energy Industry in this Province. The government needs to be held accountable and Ontarians deserve answers,” said Horwath.

 

“How did we get to this point where it seems like every week there’s a new allegation about how this government has handled the energy file? We deserve to know who made these decisions, how they were made and exactly what the price tag was. We need to get to the bottom of this in a way that Ontarians can have confidence in, a process that’s independent, and will deliver answers.”

Horwath noted that today’s revelations marks the fifth OPP investigation currently underway in to the Premier’s office and the Liberal Government.